Contemporary Tabby

Cement works update

Ancient tabby marks Florida’s sense of place.  Tabby is the colloquial name for an early Spanish colonial form of cement.  A cake of sand, lime, shells, and water created an architecture of walls and forts.  Some of this is still extant today.

Tabby wall, St. Augustine, 16th c (left closeup)

This series of contemporary tabby adds manmade materials in the same mixture.  Lime, or calcium hydroxide, is the main ingredient of Type I Portland Cement.

Contemporary Tabby 1

Shells served as aggregate in Spanish tabby.  The aggregate helps bind the cement together, increase volume.  Aggregate also helps break up clods of lime when mixing.  The Titan that I mixed for this series was pure Type I with no aggregate, and it was very laborious to mix it to a smooth, even consistency.

I harvested the shells and the manmade material from Siesta Key Beach in July 2015, off the coast of Sarasota.  The manmade portions in this first piece occur in approximately the same density as found on the beach.  This indicates that the proportion of natural-to-manmade material on the beach is pretty high.

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